When people think of brackets, they think of the NCAA Tournament, but like any tournament, the NFL playoffs are a bracket as well. We'll break down the bracket for both conferences as the playoff games unfold.
Both sides of the bracket are now set for the NFL playoffs and boy-oh-boy is it a doozy. The Steelers-Patriots matchup on the AFC side is as heavyweight as you can get. Neither team was great in the divisional round, but still managed to find a way to win. You can bet they'll bring "A" games next weekend.
The most fascinating part about these two teams squaring off is that it continues an (almost) unbroken trend with a short list of quarterback representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. Since the 2003 season, there have been just four quarterbacks representing the AFC in the title game. And that trend will continue:
- 2003: Tom Brady
- 2004: Brady
- 2005: Ben Roethlisberger
- 2006: Peyton Manning
- 2007: Brady
- 2008: Roethlisberger
- 2009: Manning
- 2010: Roethlisberger
- 2011: Brady
- 2012: Joe Flacco
- 2013: Manning
- 2014: Brady
- 2015: Manning
- 2016: Brady/Roethlisberger
Who invited Joe Flacco to the party? That's a remarkable run of success for a trio of quarterbacks, with Manning/Brady/Ben basically setting up shop in the conference and preventing anyone else from getting to the Super Bowl.
Rest assured Ben would like to get a fourth look at a title and even things up a little bit of the Manning/Brady run in recent years (not to mention record his fourth Super Bowl victory).
Pittsburgh didn't score a touchdown against the Chiefs, which is concerning, but they're still an explosive team. New England will have its hands full Sunday.
The playoffs really got started on Sunday, with the first close game of the postseason giving us an incredible thriller between the Cowboys and the Packers, a game Green Bay would win 34-31 with a wild finish and a walk-off field goal.
The win came a day after the Falcons lobbed up 36 points on the Seahawks in a cruise-control victory at home in what they thought would be the final game of the Georgia Dome's illustrious history. Not so fast, my friends! There will be one more game, and it will feature an opportunity for the Falcons to go to the Super Bowl.
It will also feature a historically high over/under, which was initially set at 58.5 by the Westgate Las Vegas but was pushed up to 60.5 within 30 minutes of the end of the Packers game. According to Bookmaker.eu, it is " the highest ever for a conference championship or Super Bowl."
That's a Big 12 type total, but it really shouldn't be surprising if you watched the Falcons or Packers play on both sides of the ball. The only quarterback as hot or hotter than Matt Ryan is Aaron Rodgers, and both guys will be locked in with weather not a factor. Neither team is particularly inclined to play any defense. We should get a shootout in this game, although 60 points is a wild number.
It's a game that promises to be a lot of fireworks and a lot of fun.